July 1, 2008
Elimination Communication is sometimes called Infant Potty Training, but it really is a little more and a little less than that. The name Elimination Communication sums up exactly what it is about, communication with our very young children about their elimination needs. Think about it, your child found ways very early on to communicate with you about other needs like being tired or hungry. Their elimination is really no different.
Babies are born with the instinct to not want to lay in their own waste, just like other mammals. By being kept in diapers, we train them to tune out that instinct.
I stumbled into EC this time around kind of accidentally. My 3 year old was potty training, so I had a few potty chairs littered around my house. One morning a few weeks ago when Lily woke up I was changing her diaper right next to one of the potties and I wondered if I might be able to get her to poop on the potty since she usually goes within minutes of waking up. I put her on the potty chair (the one we have is small enough for very young babies) and she peed almost right away. Throughout the next few days I caught several more, usually when she was waking up. I figured it was time to read up on this a little bit to make sure I wasn't just confusing her.
I read most of the info at Diaperfreebaby.org and checked out Diaper Free Baby from my library. I was very relieved to learn that Elimination Communication is not an all or nothing proposition. The goal is not to have your baby out of diapers before all of your friends' babies. The goal is to help your child stay in touch with their body's signals. For some families it will be simple to focus on this intently and really have a diaper free baby. For others (like mine) catching a pee or poop every now and then is a great start.
We had a string of days where Lily barely wet a diaper at all. I was able to catch most of her pees and poops. At nine months old, she is already learning the sign language for "potty" and uses it every now and then. There was even a whole week where I caught ALL of her poops in the potty. The last few days however have been busy and we have spent a lot of time on the go and at others' houses, and we have only caught after morning wake-ups and after naps.
As with all child development, there is a little of two steps forward, one step back. I have no intention of trying to get her out of diapers especially early, but in using EC part time like we are it has been much easier to keep her dry most of the time.